As I write this, I am in my last week of my twenties. Good bye to what has without doubt been the best decade of my life so far. I spent 6 years at Manchester University, became a fully fledged doctor, managed to evade disater as an over-worked and hard partying junior doctor and completed my training as a GP, picking up a couple of extra diplomas along the way. Not bad for a 29 year old I don’t think. Then there’s the blogging speed train taking me through wedding-ville, and currently ending here at Florence Finds which quite neatly celebrates its 6 month anniversary tomorrow.
Image from Wedding Chicks
My Mum alway says her thirties were her best decade and that seems to be the prevailing opinion… it’s a given I’m likely to be better off and have more career stability, but is it really about confidence, growing into your sense of self? Mum met my Dad, got married and started her family (with me) in her thirties, so it’s not suprising she looks back on that decade as the best one. I on the other hand did much of that already… I met Pete at 21, got our two cats, bought our first home and got married, all by the time I was 27. That sounds unintentionally depressing really, so much already done. When I was a teenager and wasn’t allowed to do things I always remember Mum saying, If you do everything now, what is there left to enjoy? (I think she was secretly talking about sex, but it’s a good life motto!) Strangly though, I don’t feel like I’ve done everything, more like I’ve been laying the foundations. I honestly don’t think I would have had the energy to do everything I have done if I hadn’t had Pete’s support… you know how they say ‘behind every man there’s a good woman’? Well in my case, it’s the other way around and there isn’t a day goes by that I’m not thankful.
Balloons by Luis Montiero
I’m not sure how I feel about being thirty really. The media tells us exactly how we should feel – that sense of dread at getting old, searching for wrinkles and grey hairs, the end of your carefree years and the start of being properly grown up. I dont feel any of that. After years of saying I would always have a big party for my birthday, I now find myself surrounded by friends who have had children, fulfilling the media picture I just painted, less available, less carefree. In some ways it feels like just another birthday, no rite of passage, no great fanfare to welcome me into this fabled new decade. And you all already know I actually can’t even find an appropriate dress for the occasion!
Image from 5 Inch and Up
Of course, my thoughts have turned to the future already; instead of planning things I wanted to do before I’m thirty, I’ve been thinking about my thirtieth year. After a lot of thinking I’ve only really come up with one must-do. I’ve never been to a festival and after years of not getting organised enough or having the time or money I decided this would be the year I would go to Glastonbury, an enthusiasm swiftly dampened by finding it was having a rest year. After a bit of research I’ve opted for Bestival instead in the hope if it being a little more suited to being a grown up. And yes, I will be treating myself to a teepee or something similarly comfortable.
There are other things I want to do… I’m still on a perpetual planning mission to travel and we have more tweaks to make in the house, but I wouldn’t consider any of it monumental. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m happy with my lot.
I’m curious though, how being at the same stage or considering the approach of a big birthday affects you? There is always a stifled groan when people mention their impending thirtieth whereas I can’t think of any better excuse to celebrate! What I can’t quite reconcile is if it should be a wild night or elegant relaxed affair, but I don’t feel pressured to make it monumental. I suppose because I don’t feel it’s the last chance for anything, more the beginning. If you have already turned thirty, how did you feel about it? Are there any things you want to do before you are thirty? Or if you’re already there, is there anything you wish you had done?
I’m all (twenty-nine-year-old) ears,